(The Book of Formation)
W. W. Wescott Version
1. In thirty-two wonderful Paths
of Wisdom did Jah, Jehovah Tzabaoth, the God of
Israel, the Elohim of the living, the King of ages, the merciful and
gracious God, the exalted One, the Dweller in eternity, most high and holy
engrave his name by the three Sepharim-Numbers,
Letters, and Sounds.
2. Ten are the ineffable
Sephiroth. Twenty-two are the Letters, the Foundation of all things;
there are Three Mothers, Seven Double and Twelve Simple letters.
3. The ineffable Sephiroth are
Ten, so are the Numbers; and as there are in man five fingers
over against five, so over them is established a covenant of
strength, by word of mouth, and by the
circumcision of the flesh.
4. Ten is the number of the
ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven.
Understand this wisdom, and be wise in the perception. Search out
concerning it, restore the W’ord to its creator,
and replace Him who formed it upon his throne.
5. The Ten ineffable Sephiroth
have ten vast regions bound unto them; boundless in ongin and
having no ending; an abyss’ of good and of ill; measureless height
and depth; boundless to the East and the West;
boundless to the North and South; and the Lord the only God, the Faithful
King rules all these from his holy seat, for
ever and ever.
6. The Ten ineffable Sephiroth
have the appearance of the Lightning flash, their origin is unseen and no
end is perceived. The Word is in them as they rush forth and as they return,
they speak as from the whirling wind and returning
fall prostrate in adoration before the Throne.
7. The Ten ineffable Sephiroth,
whose ending is even as their origin, are like as a flame
arising from a burning coal. For God is superlative in his Unity,
there is none equal unto Him: what number canst thou place before One. ”
8. Ten are the ineffable
Sephiroth; seal up thy lips lest thou speak of them, and guard thy heart as
thou considerest them; and if thy mind escape from thee bring it back to thy
control; even as it was said’ ” running and returning” (the living creatures
ran and returned) and hence was the Covenant made.
9. The ineffable Sephiroth give
forth the Ten numbers. First; the Spirit of the God of the living; Blessed
and more than blessed be the Living God of ages. The Voice, the Spirit, and
the Word-, these are of the Holy Spirit.
10. Second; from the Spirit He
produced Air, and formed in it twenty-two sounds-the letters; three are
mothers, seven are double, and twelve are simple; but the Spirit is first
and above these. Third; from the Air He formed the Waters, and from the
formless and void made mire and clay, and designed surfaces upon them, and
hewed recesses in them, and formed the strong material foundation. Fourth;
from the Water He formed Fire and made for Himself a Throne of Glory with
Auphanim, Seraphim and Kerubim, as his ministering angels; and with these
three he completed his dwelling, as it is written, “Who maketh his angels
spirits and his ministers a flaming fire”.’
11. He selected three letters
from among the simple ones and sealed them and formed them into a Great
Name, I H V, and with this He sealed the universe in six directions. ,
Fifth; He looked above, and
sealed the Height with I H V.
Sixth; He looked below, and
sealed the Depth with I V H.
Seventh; He looked forward, and
sealed the East with H I V.
Eighth; He looked backward, and
sealed the West with H V I.
Ninth; He looked to the right,
and sealed the South with V I H.
Tenth; He looked to the left,
and sealed the North with V- H I.
12. Behold ! From the Ten
ineffable Sephiroth do proceed-the One Spirit of the Gods of the living,
Air, Water, Fire; and also Height, Depth, East, West, North and South.
1. The twenty-two sounds and
letters are the Foundation of all things. Three mothers, seven doubles and
twelve simples. The Three Mothers are Aleph, Mem and Shin, they are Air,
Water and Fire. Water is silent, Fire is sibilant, and Air derived from the
Spirit is as the tongue of a balance standing between these contraries which
are in equilibrium, reconciling and mediating between them.
2. He hath formed, weighed, and
composed with these twenty-two letters every soul, and the soul of
everything which shall hereafter be.
3. These twenty-two sounds ‘or
letters are formed by the voice, impressed on the air, and audibly modified
in five places; in the throat, in the mouth, by the tongue, through the
teeth, and by the lips.
4. These twenty-two letters,
which are the foundation of all things, He arranged as upon a sphere with
two hundred and thirty-one gates, and the sphere may be rotated forward or
backward, whether for good or for evil: from the good comes true pleasure,
from evil nought but torment.
5. For He shewed the combination
of these letters, each with the other; Aleph with all, and all with Aleph;
Beth with all, and all with Beth. Thus in combining all together in pairs
are produced the two hundred and thirty-one gates of knowledge.
6. And from the non-existent He
made Some-Thing; and all forms of speech and everything that has been
produced; from the empty void He made the material world, and from the inert
earth He brought’ forth everything that hath life. He hewed, as it were,
vast columns out of the intangible air, and by the power of His Name made
every ‘creature and everything that’ is; and the production of all things
from the twenty-two letters is the proof that they are all but parts of one
1. The Foundation of all others
is composed of the Three Mothers, Aleph, Mem and Shin; they resemble a
Balance, on the one hand the guilty, on the other hand the purified, and
Aleph the Air is like the Tongue of a Balance standing between them.
2. The Three Mothers Aleph, Mem
and Shin are a great Mystery, very admirable and most recondite, and sealed
as with six rings; and from them proceed Air, Fire, and Water, which divide
into male and female forces. The Three Mothers Aleph, Mem and Shin are the
Foundation, from them spring three Fathers, and from these have proceeded
all things that are in the world.
3. The Three Mothers in the
world are Aleph Mem and Shin: the heavens were produced from Fire; the earth
from the Water; and the Air from the Spirit is as a reconciler between the
Fire and the Water.
4. The Three Mothers Aleph, Mem
and Shin, Fire, Water and Air are shown in the Year; from the fire was made
heat, from the waters was made cold, and from the air was produced the
temperate state, again a mediator between them. The Three Mothers, Aleph,
Mem and Shin, Fire, Water and Air are found in Man: from the fire was formed
the head; from the water the belly; and from the
air was formed the chest again placed as a mediator between the others.
5. These Three Mothers did He
produce and design, and combined them; and He sealed them as the three
mothers in the Universe, in the Year and in Man-both male and female. He
caused the letter Aleph to reign in Air and crowned it, and combining it
with the others He sealed it, as Air in the World, as the temperate
(climate) of the Year, and as the chest the lungs for breathing air in Man:
the male with A.M.S., the female with S.M.A. He caused the letter Mem to
reign in Water, crowned it, and combining it with the others formed the
earth in the world, cold in the year, and the belly in man, male and female,
the former with M.A.S., the latter with M.S.A. He caused Shin to reign in
Fire, and crowned it, and combining it with the others, sealed with it the
heavens in the universe, heat in the year and the head in man, male and
1. The Seven Double Letters,
Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, and Tau have each two sounds associated
with them. They are referred to Life, Peace, Wisdom, Riches, Grace,
Fertility and Power. The two sounds of each letter are the hard and the
soft-the aspirated and the softened. They are called Double, because each
letter presents a contrast or permutation ; thus Life and Death; Peace and
War(Evil); Wisdom and Folly; Riches and Poverty; Grace and Indignation;
Fertility and Solitude (Desolation); Power and Servitude.
2. These Seven Double Letters
point out seven localities; Above, Below, East, West, North, South, and the
Palace of Holiness in the midst of them sustaining all things.
3. These Seven Double Letters He
designed, produced, and combined, and formed with them the Planets (stars)
of this Universe, the Days of the Week, and the Gates of the soul (the
orifices of perception) in Man. From these Seven He hath produced the Seven
Heavens, the Seven Earths, the Seven Sabbaths: for
this cause He has loved and blessed the number Seven, more than all
things under Heaven (His Throne).
4. Two Letters produce two
houses; three form six; four form twenty-four; five form one hundred and
twenty; six form seven hundred and twenty ; seven form five thousand and
forty; and beyond this their numbers increase so that the mouth can hardly
utter them, nor the ear hear the number of them. So now, behold the Stars of
the Universe (Planets) are Seven; the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn,
Jupiter and Mars. The Seven are also the Seven Days of Creation; and the
Seven Gateways of the Soul of Man-the two eyes, the two ears, the mouth and
the two nostrils. So with the Seven are formed the seven heavens,~ the seven
earths, and the seven periods of time; and so has He preferred the number
Seven above all things under Heaven.
NOTE. The above
demonstrates the number of permutations and combinations which can result
from fundamental numbers of energy patterns or archetypes in terms of the
factorials of numbers, e.g., 5 factorial (or 5!) = 5x4x3x2x1 = 120.
Accordingly, considering the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the
primeval energy patterns of creation (and they have been shown to be
projections of one Master Pattern), 22! = 22x21x20x . . . x1 =
1,124,000,728,000,000,000,000. The tremendous versatility of forms seen in
the natural world (and their invisible archetypes) bears witness to this
NOTE: This is a
modern illustration of the allotment of the Seven Letters; it is not found
ancient copies of
the ” SEPHER Yetzirah.”
He produced Beth, and referred
it to Wisdom; He crowned it, combined and formed with it the
Moon in the Universe, the first day of the week, and the right eye of
man. He produced Gimel, and referred it to Health;
He crowned it, combined and joined with it Mars in
the Universe, the second day of the week, and the right ear of man.
He produced Daleth, and referred
it to Fertility; He crowned it, combined and formed with it
the Sun in the Universe, the third day of the week, and the right
nostril of man. He produced Kaph, and referred it
to Life; He crowned it, combined and formed with it Venus in
the Universe, the fourth day of the week, and the left eye of man.
He produced Pe, and referred it
to Power; He crowned it, combined and formed with it Mercury
in the Universe, the fifth day of the week, and the left ear of man.
He produced Resh and referred it to Peace; He crowned it, combined
and formed with it Saturn in the Universe, the
sixth day of the week, and the left nostril of man.
He produced Tau, and referred it to Beauty; He crowned it, combined
and formed with it Jupiter in the Universe, the
Seventh Day of the week, and the mouth of man.
By these Seven letters were also
made seven worlds, seven heavens, seven earths, seven
seas, seven rivers, seven deserts, seven
days, seven weeks from Passover to Pentecost, and every seventh year a
1. The Twelve Simple Letters are
Heh, Vau, Zain, Cheth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Nun,
Samech, Oin, Tzaddi and Qoph:They are the foundations of these twelve
properties: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Speech, Taste,
Sexual Love, Work, Movement, Anger, Mirth, Imagination and Sleep. These
Twelve are also allotted to the directions in space: North-east, South-east,
the East above, the East below, the North above, the North below, the
South-west, the North-west, the West above, the
West below, the South above, and the South below; these diverge to
infinity, and are as the arms of the Universe.
2. These Twelve Simple Letters
he designed, and combined, and formed with them the Twelve
celestial constellations of the Zodiac, whose signs are Teth, Shin,
Tau, Samech, Aleph, Beth, Mem, Oin, Qoph, Gimel, Daleth and Daleth. The
Twelve are also the Months of the Year: Nisan, Yiar,
Sivan, Tamuz, Ab, Elul, Tishri, Hesvan, Kislev, Tebet, Sabat and Adar.
The Twelve are also the Twelve organs of
living creatures, the two hands, the two feet, the two kidneys, the
spleen, the liver, the gall, private parts, stomach and intestines.
He made these, as it were
provinces, and arranged them as in order of battle for warfare. And
also the Elohim made one from the region of the other.
Three Mothers and Three Fathers;
and thence issue Fire, Air, and Water. Three Mothers, Seven
Doubles and Twelve Simples..
3. Behold now these are the
Twenty and Two Letters from which Jah, Jehovah Tzabaoth, the
Elohim of the living, the God of Israel, exalted and sublime, the
Dweller in eternity, formed
and established all things; High
and Holy is His Name.
N OTE.-This is a
modern illustration of the allotment of the Twelve Letters; it is not found
the ancient copies
of the ” Sepher Yetzirah.”
1.God produced He, predominant
in Speech, crowned it, combined and formed with it Aries in the Un~verse,
Nisan in the Year, and the right foot of Man.
2. He produced Vau, predominant
in n~ind, crow-red it, combined and formed with it Taurus in
the Universe, Aiar in the Year, and the right kidney of Man.
3. He produced Zain, predominant
in Movement, crowned it, combined and formed it with
Gemini in the Universe, Sivan in the Year and the left foot of Man.
4. He produced Cheth,
predominant in Sight, crowned it, combined and formed with it Cancer in
the Universe, Tamuz in the Year, and the right hand of Man.
5. He produced Teth, predominant
in Hearing crowned it, combined and formed with it Leo in
the Universe, Ab in the Year, and the left Kidney in Man.
6.. He produced Yod, predominant
in Work, crowned it, combined and formed with it Virgo in
the Universe, Elul in the Year, and the left hand of Man.
7. He produced Lamed,
predominant in Sexual desire, crowned it, combined and formed with it
Libra in the Universe, Tishri in the Year, and the private parts of
Man. (Kalisch gives ” gall.”)
8. He produced Nun, predominant
in Smell, crowned it, combined and formed with it Scorpio in the Universe,
Heshvan in the Year, and the intestines of l~an.
9. He produced Samech,
predominant in Sleep, crowned it, combined and formed with it
Sagittarius in the Universe, Kislev in the Year, and the stomach of
IO; He produced Oin, predominant
in Anger crowned it, combined and formed with it
Capricornus in the Universe, Tebet in the Year, and the liver of Man.
11.He produced Tzaddi,
predominant in Taste, crowned it, combined and formed with it
Aquarius in the Year, and the gullet in Man.
12. He produced Qoph,
predominant in Mirth, crowned it, combined and formed with it Pisces
in the Universe, Adar in the Year, and the spleen of Man.
1. Three Fathers and their
generations, Seven conquerors and their armies, and Twelve
bounds of the Universe. See now, of these words, the faithful
witnesses are the Universe, the Year and Man. The
dodecad, the heptad, and the triad with their provinces; above is the
Celestial Dragon, T L 1, and below is the World, and lastly the heart
of Man. The Three are Water, Air and Fire; Fire
above, Water below, and Air conciliating between them; and the sign
of these things is that the Fire sustains (volatilizes) the waters;
Mem is mute, Shin is sibilant, and AIeph is the Mediator and as it were a
friend placed between them.
2. The Celestial Dragon, T L I,
is placed over the universe like a king upon the throne; the
revolution of the year is as a king over his dominion; the heart of
man is as a king in warfare. Moreover, He made all
things one from the other; and the Elohim set good over against evil, and
made good things from good, and evil things from evil: with the good
tested He the evil, and with the evil did He try
the good. Happiness is reserved for the good, and misery is kept for
3. The Three are One, and that
One stands above. The Seven are divided; three are over against
three, and one stands between the triads. The Twelve stand as in
warfare; three are friends, three are enemies;
three are life givers; three are destroyers. The three friends are the
heart, the ears, and the mouth; the three enemies
are the liver, the gall, and the tongue; while God
the faithful king rules over all. One above Three, Three above Seven, and
Seven above Twelve; and all are connected the one
with the other.
4. And after that our father
Abraham had perceived, and understood, and had taken down and
engraved all these things, the Lord most high revealed Himself, and
called him His beloved, and made a Covenant with him and his seed; and
Abraham believed on Him and it was imputed unto
him for righteousness. And He made this Covenant between the ten toes of the
feet this is like that of circumcision; and
between the ten fingers of the hands and this is like that of the
tongue. And He bound the twenty- two letters unto his speech and
shewed him all the mysteries of them. He drew them
through the Waters; He burned them in the Fire; He vibrated
them in the Air; Seven in the highest heavens; and Twelve in the
celestial constellations of the Zodiac.
The End of the ” Book of
THE PATHS OF WISDOM AND GATES OF
(The 32 Paths of the Sepher
(From “The Holy Kabbalah” by A.
In the Latin collection of
Pistorius the marrow of philosophical Kabbalism is presented in the form of
certain terse propositions or dogmas, according to one of which the ways of
eternity are thirty-two–Viæ æternitatis sunt triginta duo. These are the
Paths of the SEPHER YETZIRAH, namely, the ten SEPHIROTH and the [twenty-two]
letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The doctrine concerning them is a dependency
of this fundamental treatise, but of much more recent date, and without even
an imputed authorship. It tabulates the special graces and illuminations
which may be communicated to man from above by means of these channels, and
is not unimportant, because it shows that Kabbalism, even on its most
speculative and formal side, had a practical application to the human mind,
and was not a purely arbitrary system. It is outside the province of this
work to offer translations to the student, but as in the present instance it
could be difficult to summarize the tabulation more briefly, I shall give it
in extenso, premising only that it has been translated more than once into
English, and is indeed available in a number of European languages.
I. The first path [KETER or
Crown] is called the Admirable Intelligence [Mystical Intelligence], the
Supreme Crown. It is the light which imparts understanding of the beginning
which is without beginning, and this also is the First Splendor. No created
being can attain to its essence.
II. The second path [CHOCHMAH or
Wisdom] is called the Illuminating Intelligence. It is the Crown of Creation
and the splendor of the Supreme Unity, to which it is most in proximity. It
is exalted above every head and is distinguished by Kabbalists as the Second
III. The third path [BINAH or
Understanding] is called the Sanctifying Intelligence and is the foundation
of Primordial Wisdom, termed the Creation of Faith. Its roots are AMeN. It
is the mother of Faith, which indeed emanates therefrom.
IV. The fourth path [CHESED–Mercy,
Exuberance or Generosity] is called the Arresting or Receiving Intelligence
because it arises like a boundary to receive the emanations of the higher
intelligences which are sent down to it. Herefrom all spiritual virtues
emanate by the way of subtlety, which itself emanates from the Supreme
Crown. (It contains all the holy powers, and from it emanate all the
spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences; they emanate one from the
other by the power of the primordial emanation of KETER.–Wescott)
V. The fifth path [GEBURAH–Justice,
Limitation or Severity] is called the Radical Intelligence, because it is
more akin than any other to the Supreme Unity and emanates from the depths
of the Primordial Wisdom (the primordial depths of Chochmah).
VI. The sixth path [TIPHERETH or
Beauty] is called the Intelligence of Mediating Influence (or of Separated
Emanation), because the flux of the emanations is multiplied therein. It
communicates this affluence to those blessed men who are united with it.
VII. The seventh path [NETZACH–Victory
or Eternity] is called the Hidden Intelligence, because it pours out a
brilliant splendor on all intellectual virtues which are beheld with the
eyes of the spirit and by the ecstasy of faith.
VIII. The eighth path [HOD–Glory
or Reverberation] is called the Perfect and Absolute Intelligence. The
preparation of principles emanates therefrom. The roots to which it adheres
are in the depths of the Sphere Magnificence, from the very substance of
which it emanates. (It is the means of the Primordial.)
IX. The ninth path [YESOD or
Foundation] is called the Purified Intelligence. It purifies the
numerations, prevents and stays the fracture of their images (or proves and
corrects the designing of their representations), for it establishes their
unity, to preserve them from destruction and division by their union with
itself. (It disposes their unity with which they are combined without
diminution or division.)
X. The tenth path [MALCHUTH or
Kingdom] is called the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above
every head and has its seat in BINAH: it enlightens the fire of all lights
and emanates the power of the principle of forms. (It causes a supply of
influence to emanate from the prince of Countenances.)
XI. The eleventh path is called
the Fiery Intelligence. It is the veil placed before the dispositions and
order of the superior and inferior causes. Whosoever possesses this path is
in the enjoyment of great dignity; to possess it is to be face to face with
the Cause of Causes. (It is the essence of that curtain which is placed
close to the order of the disposition, and this is a special dignity given
to it that it may be able to stand before the face of the Cause of Causes.)
XII. The twelfth path is called
the Intelligence of Light (or Transparency), because it is the image of
magnificence. It is said to be the source of vision in those who behold
XIII. The thirteenth path is
called the Inductive Intelligence of Unity. It is the substance of glory,
and it manifests truth to every spirit. (It is the consummation of the truth
of individual spiritual things.)
XIV. The fourteenth path is
called the Illuminating Intelligence (or Luminous Intelligence). It is the
institutor of arcane, the foundation of holiness.
XV. The fifteenth path is called
the Constituting Intelligence, because it constitutes creation in the
darkness of the world. (or–It constitutes the substance of creations in
pure darkness.) According to the philosophers, it is itself that darkness
mentioned by Scripture (Job xxxviii. 9), cloud and the envelope thereof.
XVI. The sixteenth path is
called the Triumphant and Eternal Intelligence, the delight of glory, the
paradise of pleasure prepared for the just.
XVII. The seventeenth path is
called the Disposing Intelligence. It disposes the devout to perseverance
and thus prepares them to receive the Holy Spirit. (It is the path of Life
XVIII. The eighteenth path is
called the Intelligence or House of Influence, (by the greatness of whose
abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is increased) and
thence are drawn the arcane and the concealed meanings which repose in the
XIX. The nineteenth path is
called the Intelligence of the Secret or of all spiritual activities. The
fullness which it receives derives from the highest benediction and the
XX. The twentieth path is called
the Intelligence of Will. It prepares all created beings, each individually,
for the demonstration of the existence of the primordial glory.
XXI. The twenty-first path is
called the Rewarding Intelligence (or the Conciliating Intelligence or the
Intelligence of Desire) of those who seek. It receives the divine influence,
and it influences by its benediction all existing things.
XXII. The twenty-second path is
called the Faithful Intelligence, because spiritual virtues are deposited
and augment therein, until they pass to those who dwell under the shadow
thereof. (By it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth
are merely under its shadow.–Westcott)
XXIII. The twenty-third path is
called the Stable Intelligence. It is the source of consistency in all the
XXIV. The twenty-fourth path is
called the Imaginative Intelligence. It is the ground of similarity in the
likeness of beings who are created to its agreement, after its aspects.
XXV. The twenty-fifth path is
called the Intelligence of Temptation or Trial, because it is the first
temptation by which God tests the devout.
XXVI. The twenty-sixth path is
called the Renewing Intelligence, for thereby God–blessed be He!–reneweth
all which is capable of renovation in the creation of the world (or all the
changeable things which are renewed by a new cycle of world creation).
XXVII. The twenty-seventh path
is called the Natural Intelligence, whereby the nature of everything found
in the orb of the sun is completed and perfected.
XXVIII. The twenty-eighth path
is called the Active Intelligence, for thence is created the spirit of every
creature of the supreme orb, and the activity, that is to say, the motion,
to which they are subject.
XXIX. The twenty-ninth path is
called the Corporeal Intelligence; it informs every body which is
incorporated under all orbs and it is the growth thereof.
XXX. The thirtieth path is
called the Collective Intelligence, for thence astrologers, by the judgment
of the stars and the heavenly signs, derive their speculations and the
perfection of their science according to the motions of the stars.
XXXI. The thirty-first path is
called the Perpetual Intelligence. Why is it so called? Because it rules the
movement of the sun and the moon according to their constitution and causes
each to gravitate in its respective orb.
Eliphas Levi, this verse contains the secret of the Great Work of Alchemy.
The reason assigned is that path thirty-one corresponds to the Hebrew letter
SHIN (Sh), which represents the magic lamp, or the light between the horns
of Baphomet. “It is the Kabbalistic sign of God or the Astral Light, with
its two poles and equilibrated center” The sun mentioned in the paragraph
represents gold, the moon silver, and the planets correspond to the other
metals.-LA CLEP DES GRAND MYSTÈRES, p. 234. It is needless to say that the
SEPHER YETZIRAH and its developments have nothing to do with Alchemy. As
regards the Great Work and Levi’s pretended discovery of its secret, see my
annotated translation of his TRANSCENDENTAL MAGIC, pp. 345 – 347.
XXXII. The thirty-second path is
called the Assisting Intelligence, because it directs all the operation of
the seven planets, with their divisions, and concurs therein.
The comparatively modern accent
of this tabulation will occur to the reader, but its quotation was necessary
to exhibit the intellectual profit believed to follow from the study of
Kabbalism, and still more that it was in the last resource the understanding
of man methodized, embracing, as such, the entire circle attributed to human
knowledge. After what manner the Paths correspond to their various affirmed
offices, how they communicate the powers and graces which abide therein, and
for what reason they bear their distinctive titles must remain open
questions. The thesis concerning them constitutes a body of dogma, and is to
be taken or left as such. The Paths are those of the Tree and its SEPHIROTH.